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Sam Hocevar’s .plan

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Monsterz, free games

Posted on Tue, 25 Oct 2005 17:40:54 +0200 - Keywords: debian, devel

Monsterz I managed to do a minor release of Monsterz that fixes compatibility issues with recent versions of Pygame and NumPy.

Unfortunately, despite my recent ITP, Monsterz cannot yet enter Debian due to license issues. I really tried my best to create and use completely free content, releasing the game and the graphics under the WTFPL and using a public domain module for the background music, but I still have problems with the sound samples. Two samples are under the CC-by 2.0 (which according to us is non-free, although very close to being free, which gives me good expectations for the next versions) and 8 other samples are “free and royalty free for commercial and non-commercial use”, which sadly does not explicitly allow modification. I already asked for clarification last year when I started gathering media for Monsterz, but got no answer.

And I did not just google for “free mp3s”, I really spent whole evenings hunting for the most freely licensed samples I could use. This shows exactly how difficult it is to find DFSG-free music and sound effects (as well as 2D and 3D graphics, but to a lesser extent from my personal experience). Though one possible reason may be that it is extremely easy to embed precise licensing terms within a program file, it makes me feel like coders are years ahead in terms of sharing their digital work for everyone to use and improve.

Of course, not being a professional sound engineer or creator, I am most certainly missing huge parts of the whole business equation, and I may underestimate the artistic bond they share with their work (and thus their reluctancy to give it away for minor to no retribution). But I do not believe that sound samples of a grunting alien or a bouncing ball may have a high artistic or pecuniary value. And though many people outside Debian will consider our license analyses mere nitpicking, a game designer would probably never use a sound sample that cannot be modified. But instead of just ranting and waiting for new versions of licences that never come in time (GFDL anyone?), I will just try to create my own replacement sound samples and give them away for free when done.

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